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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. Study Investigates Whether Blind People Characterize Others by Race

    Most people who meet a new acquaintance, or merely pass someone on the street, need only a glance to categorize that person as a particular race. But, sociologist Asia Friedman wondered, what can we learn about that automatic visual processing from people who are unable to see?

    Friedman, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Delaware, set out to explore that question by interviewing 25 individuals who are blind. She will present her findings in a study at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

  3. Justice Standard Determines Emotional Responses to Over-Reward

    How do people feel when they benefit from an unfair reward distribution? Equity theory predicts negative emotion in response to over-reward, but sociological research using referential standards of justice drawn from status-value theory repeatedly finds positive emotional responses to over-reward.

  4. Sharing the Emotional Load: Recipient Affiliation Calms Down the Storyteller

    In conversational storytelling, the recipients are expected to show affiliation with the emotional stance displayed by the storytellers. We investigated emotional arousal-related autonomic nervous system responses in tellers and recipients of conversational stories. The data consist of 20 recordings of 45- to 60-minute dyadic conversations between female university and polytechnic students. Conversations were videotaped and analyzed by means of conversation analysis (CA), with a special emphasis on the verbal and nonverbal displays of affiliation in storytelling.

  5. The Link between Functional Limitations and Depressive Symptoms: The Explanatory Role of Self-conceptions

    Having more physical limitations predicts greater depressive symptoms. However, relatively few studies examine self-conceptions as potential explanations for this association. Using ordinary least squares regression on panel data collected in Miami-Dade County, Florida (2001 and 2004, N = 1,362), we examine the effect of functional limitations on five dimensions of the self: self-esteem, mastery, mattering, introspection, and emotional reliance.

  6. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  7. The Habitus and the Critique of the Present: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Bourdieus Social Theory

    I tackle some major criticisms addressed to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus by foregrounding its affinities with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of rule-following. To this end, I first clarify the character of the habitus as a theoretical device, and then elucidate what features of Wittgenstein’s analysis Bourdieu found of interest from a methodological viewpoint. To vindicate this reading, I contend that Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following was meant to unearth the internal connection between rules and the performative activities whereby rules are brought into life.

  8. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  9. A Hand Up for Low-Income Families

    by Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, and Jennifer Sykes

    Welfare queens driving Cadillacs. Food stamp kings buying filet mignon. The stereotypes are rife. What if there was a way to support lower-income families without the stigma? There is. And it comes from an unexpected source: the Internal Revenue Service.

  10. Do Millionaires Move Across States to Avoid Taxes?

    The view that the rich are highly mobile has gained much political traction in recent years and has become a central argument in debates about whether there should be "millionaire taxes" on top-income earners. But a new study dispels the common myth about the propensity of millionaires in the United States to move from high to low tax states.